Dave George: At right price, Osweiler might be right call for Dolphins


Brock Osweiler is nobody’s No. 1 anymore, not even for the Cleveland Browns, whose quarterback carousel has long been one of the most dizzying spectacles in the NFL.

Doesn’t it make a little sense, though, to consider Peyton Manning’s former backup in Denver as a potential No. 2 quarterback in Miami?

This is all based, of course, on the Browns eventually getting around to cutting Osweiler and eating a big hunk of his enormous salary in the process. At that point, a team might be able to pick him up for $4 million or so, which is roughly double what Matt Moore gets from the Dolphins to back up Ryan Tannehill.

Hey, we’re just spitballing here. Don’t get all upset. Adam Gase will do exactly what he wants to do in this critical area, regardless of anything that is written or shouted, and up until this point he has taken a pass on Jay Cutler. That’s the guy who has been riding the rumor train to Miami for more than a year now.

Osweiler is a new development, but what he has in common with Cutler is a previous time of instruction and growth under Gase’s coaching. There’s a thick file already working in Gase’s mind on both of these guys, reviewing Cutler’s work in Chicago and Osweiler in Denver, with notes already squirreled away on their physical capabilities, their personalities and their ability to learn.

Same goes for Moore, who won half of his four starts last year when Tannehill was lost with a partially torn ACL. There were some gritty performances in there, but the Dolphins and Moore couldn’t muster enough offense to stay in games against New England (a 35-14 loss in the final regular-season game) and Pittsburgh (a rare playoff opportunity lost by a score of 30-12).

Osweiler supposedly was a cut above all of that when he signed a four-year deal last spring with Houston. The Texans gambled $37 million in guaranteed money that a young quarterback with seven career starts would soon take off and fly once given his own team, like Aaron Rodgers did in Green Bay.

Oh, boy, I can really hear the grumbling out there now. Snap out of it, column clown. Don’t be comparing this kid to anybody who’s ever actually done anything.

We’ll keep it basic, then, for the sake of kicking around Miami’s backup options alone.

Moore will be 33 when the 2017 season begins. Osweiler is seven years younger.

When Moore reached Osweiler’s current age of 26, he had a 7-6 record as a starter with the Carolina Panthers and a career quarterback rating of 73.9. Osweiler is 13-8 as a starter with a couple of strong teams in Denver and Houston and has an overall quarterback rating of 77.4. It’s not like Moore is a thousand times better.

Even taking Osweiler’s disappointing Houston debut into account, he still managed to win a playoff game with the Texans, beating Oakland 27-14 with a quarterbacking performance that was more maintenance than magic but included one touchdown rushing and one touchdown passing.

The last Dolphins quarterback to win a playoff game in any form or fashion was Jay Fiedler on Dec. 30, 2000. Yeah, it’s been a while …

Just last spring, Gase was asked about Osweiler at the NFL meetings in Boca Raton. The two worked together when Gase was the Broncos’ quarterbacks coach in 2012, and that continued in 2013 and 2014 after Gase took over the play-calling duties as Denver’s offensive coordinator. It was all about Peyton Manning back then.

“He was very mature for a young kid,” Gase said of Osweiler, who was drafted by Denver in the second round, 18 spots ahead of where Seattle took Russell Wilson. “The biggest thing he was trying to work on was his mechanics and how to be a quarterback. He knew that he had time to do that behind Peyton.

“That was one of the reasons we wanted to draft him. We knew his work ethic was off the charts. We knew he was smart … He was the right guy for that kind of role for us, but we had great confidence he was going to be the next guy for us as well.”

So much has changed since then. On the one hand, Osweiler has had a taste of being a starter now and may not want to sit the bench for another second. On the other hand, he may not have a choice.

If nothing else, bringing Osweiler in would push Tannehill the way he’s never been pushed in Miami. They came out in the same draft. Their strengths and weaknesses are well known to Gase. Put them all together, inventive young coach included, and there’s no telling what might develop.

Sure, such conjecture goes against the steady moves that Miami’s front office has made this offseason, but if the price is right, this is the sort of move that protects against a deadly dropoff.

It’s worth considering. Until December, we actually thought Tannehill was indestructible.



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